Skylar Spence: What I’m Listening To
“Like a lightning bolt out of the blue, 2018 has shocked me with the quality and quantity of new releases. I’ve found new artists I love, and old favorites have evolved their sound and given me a lot of food for thought on what having a successful songwriting career really means. All this music has inspired me and informed my most recent output. I wanted to share my favorites in case you need a soundtrack to dance, cry, or ponder the future of the universe to! Hope you find something you enjoy.” – Skylar Spence
Friendly Fires, “Love Like Waves”
Friendly Fires are one of my favorite bands, and a huge influence on my music. They’ve been fairly quiet since 2011’s Pala but they’ve returned this year in top form. I think Lone may have been involved with this song!
Natalie Prass, “Short Court Style”
Natalie Prass blew me away with this record. My friend caught her at SXSW this year and said he couldn’t believe how incredible the band was. This track grooves like a lazy summer day. I love the ghost note in the guitar riff and that g-funk synth line!
Arctic Monkeys, “One Point Perspective”
I wasn’t expecting the return of Arctic Monkeys to rank so highly in my favorite events of 2018, but the renovation of their sound and style reminded me why I fell in love with them in the first place. My favorite is “Star Treatment,” but it doesn’t lend itself to the art of playlisting.
Young Dreams, “Wildwind”
2018 started with a bang when Young Dreams released Waves 2 You. The production reminds me a lot of the most recent Tame Impala stuff but the songwriting is baroque as ever. When I heard “Wildwind,” it REALLY knocked me into gear.
Travi$ Scott, “RIP Screw”
Astroworld is probably my favorite rap album of 2018 and I love how spacey and melodic this highlight is. The sound design has Toro y Moi written all over it, to my ears, at least.
This is my favorite Gorillaz song in forever!! Damon Albarn gave me something I didn’t even know I needed in a George Benson collaboration. I rocked to this one all summer long.
Yuno, “No Going Back”
I’ve been following Yuno since 2013, and this year he announced his signing to Sub Pop along with an incredible EP, Moodie. This song gets me giddy about music like I used to in high school.
MGMT, “One Thing Left To Try”
MGMT also went directly for my heart with their ’80s-inspired record this year. I saw them tour it, and their live decorations were decidedly influenced by vaporwave. That made me happy. I love this trend of bright sounding music with a darker core.
Palm’s latest album is dizzying and bursting with color. I can’t wait to see them live because I don’t have a clue how this could be performed. The whole album twists and turns, but this one (especially the breakdown) is my favorite.
DJ Koze, “Pick Up”
“Pick Up” is my favorite house song of the decade, probably. I’ve listened to ‘Knock Knock’ more than any other album this year, besides maybe the Arctic Monkeys album. “Pick Up” sits pretty in the middle, like the crown jewel it is. Simplicity works wonders here and Koze stretches one vocal line and a two bar loop into a dancefloor filling odyssey.
Against All Logic, “Now U Got Me Hooked”
I used to play “I Never Dream” in a lot of my DJ sets, so I was elated when I found out Nicolas Jaar surprise released a whole album under his A.A.L. pseudonym. To me, the standout is this track, which is equal parts grimy and funky. I haven’t had the opportunity to play this out yet, but I know exactly how it will perform.
Yves Tumor, “All The Love We Have Now”
This song is my most recent obsession. I love how the drums suck up the rest of the music for the first half, anxiously building up to that sweet moment of clarity. It’s the aural equivalent of my headspace these days!
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